Liberia: Nimba's Grounded Road Equipment Deteriorates

Leaving development activities stalled

The condition of the grounded 22 pieces of road-building equipment, purchased from the social development funds from ArcelorMittal by authorities of Nimba county, is now in deplorable condition, with many describing the equipment as "metal scraps."

The equipment have been grounded since 2017, but issues pertaining to repairing the yellow machines were discussed in last year's County Council Sitting in Sanniquellie, and a budget was proposed for all mechanical works and rehabilitation of feeder roads across the County.

After the Council Sitting, there was a budget to implement the proposal, which the County Council Sitting made, causing setback to other county development initiatives, including rehabilitation of feeder roads, construction of schools, and clinics.

In the middle of 2019, the government released over US$1 million to the County against the US$3 million budgeted by the County Council Sitting in 2018, but the remitted US$1 million is yet to be used due to what many believed to be a result of political wrangling among the county officials.

The political wrangling among the local officials was precipitated by suspicion of Superintendent David Dorr Cooper's alleged desire to contest the 2020 upcoming Special Senatorial Election.

Many of Supt. Cooper's opponents, including those in the leadership arena are of the opinion that the delay to repair the equipment is so that Cooper can hold onto the county money until closer to the election period, when he would carry out the repair works as part of his purported campaign. The idea, pundits allege, is to make himself more popular, and win the hearts and minds of voters.

In 2010, the county leadership under Mrs. Edith Gongloe Weh, with the approval from the 52nd County Legislative Caucus, used over US$4 million to purchase 22 pieces of yellow machines, including 3 bulldozers, 3 motor graders, 3 excavators, 3 front loaders, 3 dump trucks, a road bed and other equipment.

The equipment were divided into 3 sets, representing the three regions (upper, central and lower Nimba), where each set, comprising of 6 machines, would have been used for road rehabilitation.

But these equipments are all grounded, with some in very bad condition; abandoned in areas with no security presence.

Currently, with such development and from the look of political activities, it appears as though the county administration has collapsed; with the entire administration building being deserted by the local officials.

Critics are saying the superintendent is no longer sitting in office, rather carrying on his private political activities.

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